The James Web Space Telescope has completed a tricky two-week deployment phase, unfolding its largest, gold-plated, floral-shaped glass panel, ready to explore every phase of cosmic history.
Engineering teams at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, were delighted when NASA announced Saturday on Twitter that the final section of 6.5 meters (21-feet) of glass had been used.
– Space Telescope Science Institute (pSpaceTelescope) January 8, 2022
“I’m passionate about it – what a wonderful milestone,” said Thomas Surbuchen, a senior NASA engineer, during a live video feed, celebrated by star audiences around the world.
“We see that beautiful form in the sky now.”
More powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope, the $ 10bn web scans the cosmos for light from the first stars and galaxies formed 13.7 billion years ago. To accomplish this, NASA had to decorate the web with the largest and most sensitive glass ever launched – its “golden eye” as scientists call it.
The telescope was so large that it had to be folded in origami style to fit on a rocket that exploded from French Guiana two weeks ago.
The most dangerous move took place earlier in the week when the size of the tennis court expanded the solar armor.
The shield is permanently positioned between the telescope and the sun, the earth and the moon, and the side facing the sun is 110 degrees Celsius (230 degrees Fahrenheit).
The farthest reaches of the universe
Baltimore air traffic controllers began opening the “Golden Eye” on Friday, spreading the left side like a drop-leaf table.
This glass is made of beryllium, a lightweight and sturdy and cold-resistant metal. Each of its 18 segments is coated with a layer of ultrasonic gold that is highly reflective of infrared light.
The hexagonal, coffee table size sections should be adjusted over the next few days and weeks so that they can focus on one of the alien worlds that holds the atmospheric signs of stars, galaxies and life.
“Like we have 18 glasses, now the little prima tones are all doing their own thing, they have to sing their own song on any key and have to make them act like a chorus, which is a systematic, difficult process,” activity project scientist Jane Rigby told reporters.
#NasaWeb Fully utilized! ⁇
With the successful deployment and latch of our last Mirror Wing, it:
50 major deployments, completed.
178 needles, released.
20+ years of hard work, realized.
– NASA Web Telescope (NASAWebb) January 8, 2022
Webb has yet to reach the goal of one million miles (1.6 million kilometers) in two weeks; It is already 667,000 miles (one million kilometers) from Earth since the start of its Christmas day.
According to NASA, the telescope is still five and a half months away, and the next steps will include adjusting the telescope’s optics and measuring its scientific instruments.
If all goes well, scientific research will begin this summer. Astronomers believe that within 100 million years of the Big Bang, the universe will be much closer than Hubble reached.
Its purpose is to study the origin, evolution and habitation of distant planets.
Amy Lynn Thompson, a space and science journalist, writes to space.com that the successful spread of the solar shield and the exposure of the mirrors was an “incredible feat”.
“It’s been 25 years since this telescope was manufactured, and scientists are really ready to get to the point where it can send back images, and these are important steps that need to be taken to make sure it works,” he told Al Jazeera. .
“What it’s going to do is look at infrared light, which is part of the electromagnetic spectrum we feel hot. He said.
“So not only can we see some of the first stars and galaxies, but we can also see what kind of chemicals are in the exoplanet atmosphere and perhaps find other planets that could inhabit the universe.”